We have not seen each other for months. As I catch her up on the latest news, my best friend receives a text message...then another...and another. She shares, "This will only take a second, but keep going, I'm still listening," and so I continue. While she texted, I shared with her the struggles of the past couple months balancing school and work. I expressed my immense joy in finally finding the person I felt God was calling me to be with, and as I looked to her to celebrate, I suddenly realized that she hadn't really heard me. She would say, "uh huh...uh huh..." every now and again, but her lack of a genuine response revealed to me that she wasn't actually listening.
Have you ever tried to listen to your spouse, friend, or family member while watching TV? Typing an email? Listening to the sports game or news on the radio? How well were you able to listen?
Listening to God requires the same amount of attention as listening to any other person. It requires removing anything that could possibly distract you from hearing Him and focusing all of your attention to the One who is speaking. Listening requires moments of silence.
In 1 Kings 19:11-13, it is written "There was a strong and violent wind rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD—but the LORD was not in the wind; after the wind, an earthquake—but the LORD was not in the earthquake; after the earthquake, fire—but the LORD was not in the fire; after the fire, a light silent sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, Why are you here, Elijah?"
Elijah expected God to speak through strong winds and powerful earthquakes. As a girl, I use to expect God's voice booming from parted clouds, and when it never happened, I just assumed that God did not care. This scripture passage, however, reminds us that God often speaks to us not in earth shattering ways, but in the stillness and quiet. It was through a "light silent sound" that God's voice was heard by Elijah. Had Elijah been found watching TV or even texting away, he might have missed God's call entirely!
What does this mean for us? Is it not alright to watch my favorite soccer team play in the World Cup? Just like you would schedule time to spend with a friend, listening to God requires you to actively schedule time and moments of silence to spend with God. God wants you to enjoy all that He has created even the inventions of those He loved into being. It's more a matter of putting things aside rather than giving them up.
When my paternal grandmother passed away, I could not stop from crying. Wishing to be alone, I went and hiked up a mountain close to where I had lived. I found a rock a distance away from the main trail, and it was there when I just let all the tears flow. In that time of grief and silence, I knew that God was near. In the silence, He comforted me through the warmth of the sun. In the silence, He renewed me with the coolness of the wind, and in the silence, I sensed God saying, "She is with me. You are not alone. I love you, and we will always be here for you. This is not the end. You will see her again. She loves you soo much!"
In the silence, God's voice becomes clear. He wants to share His love for you! He desires to respond to your struggles, joys, frustrations, dreams, and all that is in your heart. In the silence, God speaks.
Today, may you hear God's voice in the silence, and may you be at peace knowing that He cares for you deeply!